Exmouth Harriers octet complete demanding course at the South West Cross Country Championships.

21:21 08 January 2014

Recent extreme weather conditions have meant that the number of local football matches played last week-end could be counted on the fingers of one hand, writes Dave Eveleigh.

Recent extreme weather conditions have meant that the number of local football matches played last week-end could be counted on the fingers of one hand, writes Dave Eveleigh.

Cross Country running though, must be the Sports Editor’s favourite since all a good dose of rain does is make a race a bit more interesting!

Last Sunday the South West Cross Country Championships were held at Killerton Park, a few miles east of Exeter.

There was little chance of the event being called off but the mud which inevitably followed the rain made a tough course even more “challenging”, to use that familiar runner’s euphemism.

The basic loop was about 4km long, but it incorporated two very steep climbs to the top of the hill at Killerton, that is the very prominent wooded hill visible to your right as you drive down the M5 between Cullompton and Exeter. Then, in front of Killerton House, there was a rain sodden field to plough through, which one Exmouth runner suggested would be enjoyed even more by pigs and hippos! To quote the same Exmouth athlete: “a proper cross country course” then!

As a Championship event competition was tough with almost everybody being a club runner and the South West area in this case including Bristol and Wiltshire.

About 140 completed the men’s race eight of them being from Exmouth Harriers. Second claim member Tom Merson won this race a year ago, but had to be content with fifth place in 2014.

Merson covered a distance of about 9km in only 32:09. Dave Stone and Tony Hatchard had quite a battle from which Stone emerged the winner, just, finishing 36th in 35:18 to Hatchard’s 38th in 35:28. Stone though, did well to pick up the bronze award for men age 40-44.

Not far behind them in 36:10 was Adam Miller in 47th place.

The four other Harriers who ran were more spread out. Marc Cox was 76th in 39:16, Jon Garrity 99th in 42:26 and Chris Dupain 113th in 44:20 and Dave Eveleigh was 131st in 49:58.

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